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Professor Shahrokh (Seve) Falati began the fall semester energized by his recent travels to northern Italy. But he wasn't in Europe on vacation; rather, he was on official business representing Albany Law School as a co-organizer of the inaugural Innovation and Technology Law Summer Academy, a weeklong educational event held in partnership with the historic Università di Padova Law School.
The Innovation and Technology Law Summer Academy (ITLSA), held in June, focused on the legal issues surrounding cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing, and how U.S. and European intellectual property laws handle these types of rapidly evolving cutting-edge technologies. The academy provided participants the opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and learn in an international environment.
"My favorite part of the trip was interacting with a group of international people, from seven different countries, all interested in the same topic which, by its very nature, has no international boundaries," Professor Falati said. "New technology development is not grounded in one country; it knows no borders, meaning ideas for new technologies can come from anyone anywhere on the planet. Yet the laws where you are will determine how your new tech idea will move from the idea stage to the market. Some laws promote risk-taking and innovation and others deter it. We are very good at promoting innovation in the U.S. and it was interesting to talk to colleagues from other countries about this."
"I also enjoyed the social side of it," he added. "I got to learn about people who are doing the same kind of work but in different cultures, different countries."
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In all, about 35 individuals—including Albany Law School student Joni Zucker '19 and alumna Jennifer Chung '01, associate general counsel at AccuWeather—participated in the program. Among the attendees were other law students, experts in academia and private practice, and several notable international lawyers.
One of several presenters, Professor Falati spoke about the next generation of manufacturing, 3D printing, and how law interacts with those technological developments. He also presented on how European laws compare to U.S. laws for encouraging innovation and technology commercialization.
Outside the classroom, academy-goers took part in cultural outings in Padova and nearby Venice.
"The historical side of it was a lovely experience," Professor Falati said. "Italy is all about food, people, places, and ambiance. You learn something and also have a good time."
Response to the first Innovation and Technology Law Summer Academy was so strong—about a dozen Albany Law School students initially inquired about the subsidized trip—that Professor Falati and Padova's Professor Claudia Sandei recently launched the website
innovationsummeracademy.com, which both showcases the summer academy and serves as a snapshot of the professors' academic programs at their respective law schools. They are already at work organizing a follow-up event to be held in Italy in June 2019.
"If you're interested in innovation and new technology development and commercialization, look up what we're doing," Professor Falati said. "My counterpart in Italy and I welcome you to visit the new website to find out more, and possibly join us in Italy next June."
Learn more about the Innovation and Technology Law Summer Academy at